Gentlemen, the source of Ivan Fyodorovich’s diabolical hallucinations is clear. Did you not hear how he described his devil? I have it here, in my notes:
“It was some gentleman, or, rather, a certain type of Russian gentleman, no longer young…with not too much gray in his dark rather long, and still thick hair, and with appointed beard… the gentleman looked as though he belonged to the category of former idle landowners that flourished in the time of serfdom; had obviously seen the world and decent society, had once had connections and perhaps had them still, but, after the gay life of his youth and the recent abolition of serfdom, had gradually fallen into poverty and become a sort of sponger…knocking about among good old acquaintances, and received by them for his easy, agreeable nature, and also considering that he was, after all, a decent man, who could even be invited to sit at the table in any company, though, of course, in a humble place. Such spongers, gentlemen of agreeable nature, who can tell a story or two and play a hand of cards, and who decidedly dislike having any tasks thrust upon them, are usually single, either bachelors or widowers, and if they have children, the children are always brought up somewhere far away…” ( 635-636).
Gentleman! Is it not clear to you that the devil in question bears strong resemblance to Ivan’s father? And if not to his father in particular, then to a social class whom Ivan despises? Does not my theory explain away this devil?